“Bare” Fiction. Based on a True Feeling of Exposure.

Why does this pattern keep repeating itself over and over again?

By Dan Vega

“Bare”

Fiction. Based on a True Feeling of Exposure.

by Liv

This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.

Is there anything that could make me feel better? I don’t think so. I must sit and wallow in this anxiety, or revel in it. That is the challenge; that is the goal. Last night I felt as though I were a balloon. I was swelling, swelling, letting go, submitting myself to the forces of those around me—and then I was stretched too far. When she left, there was no more air. I deflated suddenly. The difference must have been obvious.

When my people were there, I was animated. I felt there were people who cared, people who wanted to be with me. And when one left and then the other, I was left with strangers. People like you and your coworker, the one who ignores me. People from a strange country to whom I am an outsider. I am an outsider because I don’t speak your language. I don’t speak any of your languages. Do you realize it’s hurtful when you speak them in front of me? I love other languages, but it excludes me. I am not a part of the conversation. I am the American.

Being introduced as English hurt. I could see the change in expression on people’s faces. When they first met me they would kiss me on each cheek, and I hurried to reciprocate, to pretend as if I had made that greeting before. And then you told them I was English, and they said, simply, “oh,” the disappointment clear in their tone.

Do I look Spanish? Or maybe Basque? Do I wish I were Spanish or Basque? I’m not sure. Maybe I do, if only for a night, if only to feel as though I belonged. If only to understand you better, to be understood by you better.

I hate the way you see me. I hate what you bring out in me. You make me feel weak, hypocritical, clingy, dependent, needy. And yet you hardly know me at all. You pretend that you do. You say that you know things from observing me. Fuck that.

I feel as though I am constantly explaining myself to you. Pretending there is reason behind my actions. Apologizing for my behavior. The other night when we spoke, I knew what it felt like to be a deer in headlights. I just froze.

I had envisioned this great speech:
Maite, I know what the problem is. The problem is that we slept together. On the first day we were together, I thought you were telling me you were mine. And so I gave myself to you. You took from me, and for a few days-—four whole days, even—all was well. All was beautiful. I felt that you were entranced by me, and I by you. And then somehow, at some time, something changed. And it was all gone. You had taken from me, but you said that you owe me nothing. And so I was bereft, and I felt cheated.

I feel cheated and used. I feel as though you took my body from me and then you rejected me. You like to tell me how you touch yourself, thinking of me. You like to ask me what I liked about sex with you, whether it was good. And that is all.

I should have known better. But I thought, maybe it would be different. Maybe a man from another country would treat me better, wouldn’t use me. But people are the same everywhere. People always let me down.

I may have friends. I may have new friends. But that doesn’t mean I can count on them. People always disappoint. They never give what you want them to. It is not their responsibility, but it can still make me angry and upset.

Yes, you pushed me to have sex with you. You should have stopped when I said “no,” the first time. I don’t think that you raped me but you wore down my defenses, hour by hour. I said “no” more times than I ever had in my life, but you kept pushing. You kept begging me in your language: “mesedez, mesedez.” You whispered lies into my ear. You swept me off my feet. And then you denied that you had ever given me the impression that you were mine, that you would treat me with respect.

You said that you have done nothing but treat me with respect.

You have treated me as something to be used. An object, a personage, a stand-in. My mouth and my body was simply a resting place for your tongue.

You made me feel it was my fault that I feel this way now. And in writing these words, I realize what kind of person you are, what kind of man you are. People are the same everywhere.

I should have known better.

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